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Animal Ghosts or Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter by Elliott O'Donnell


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Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

A lane in Hertfordshire was--and, perhaps, still is--haunted by the phantasm of a big white sow which had accidentally been run over and killed. It was occasionally heard grunting, and had the unpleasant knack of approaching one noiselessly from the rear, and of making the most unearthly noise just behind one's back.


Lambs and sheep, possessing finer natures than goats and pigs, would appear to be less earth-bound, and, in all probability, only temporarily haunt the spots that witnessed their usually barbarous ends.

Most slaughter-houses are haunted by them--as, indeed, by many other animals. A Scottish moor long bore the reputation for being haunted by a phantom flock of sheep, which were always heard "baaing" plaintively before a big storm.

It was supposed they were the ghosts of a flock that had perished in the memorable severe weather of Christmas, 1880. Here is a case that may be regarded as typical of hauntings by sheep, presumably the earth-bound spirits of sheep, overwhelmed in some great storm or unexpected catastrophe.

"_The Spectre Flock of Sheep in Germany_"

"During the seven years' war in Germany," writes Mrs. Crowe, in her _Night Side of Nature_, "a drover lost his life in a drunken squabble on the high road.

"For some time there was a sort of rude tombstone, with a cross on it, to mark the spot where his body was interred, but this has long fallen, and a milestone now fills its place. Nevertheless, it continues to be commonly asserted by the country people, and also by various travellers, that they have been deluded on that spot by seeing, as they imagine, herds of beasts, which on investigation prove to be merely visionary. Of course, many people look upon this as a superstition; but a very regular confirmation of the story occurred in the year 1826, when two gentlemen and two ladies were passing the spot in a post-carriage. One of these was a clergyman, and none of them had ever heard of the phenomenon said to be attached to the place. They had been discussing the prospects of the minister, who was on his way to a vicarage, to which he had just been appointed, when they saw a large flock of sheep, which stretched quite across the road, and was accompanied by a shepherd and a long-haired black dog. As to meet cattle on that road was nothing uncommon, and indeed they had met several droves in the course of one day, no remark was made at the moment, till suddenly each looked at the other, and said, 'What's become of the sheep?' Quite perplexed at their sudden disappearance, they called to the postilion to stop, and all got out, in order to mount the little elevation and look around, but still unable to discover them, they now bethought themselves of asking the postilion where they were; when, to their infinite surprise, they learned that he had not seen them. Upon this, they bade him quicken his pace, that they might overtake a carriage that had passed them shortly before, and enquire if that party had seen the sheep; but they had not.

"Four years later a postmaster, named J., was on the same road, driving a carriage, in which were a clergyman and his wife, when he saw a large flock of sheep near the same spot. Seeing they were very fine wethers, and supposing them to have been bought at a sheep-fair that was then taking place a few miles off, J. drew up his reins and stopped his horses, turning at the same time to the clergyman to say that he wanted to enquire the price of the sheep, as he intended going next day to the fair himself. Whilst the minister was asking him what sheep he meant, J. got down and found himself in the midst of the animals, the size and beauty of which astonished him. They passed him at an unusual rate, whilst he made his way through them to find the shepherd; when, on getting to the end of the flock, they suddenly disappeared. He then first learnt that his fellow-travellers had not seen them at all."

So writes Mrs. Crowe, and I quote the case in support of my argument that sheep, like horses, cats, dogs and all other kinds of animals, possess spirits, and consequently have a future state of existence.

I have not yet experimented with sheep, goats, or pigs, but I do not doubt but that they are more or less sensitive to superphysical influences, and possess the psychic faculty of scenting the Unknown--though not, perhaps, in so great a degree as any of the other animals I have enumerated.